Dru Tevis Brings Home the Baking
The Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship, that is.
Whether it’s a brilliantly paired Strawberry Pretzel Layer Cake or the wonderfully traditional Fish On’s Apple Cobbler Pie, Dru Tevis has the market cornered on making some of the best desserts in the Rehoboth Beach/Lewes area. It was a natural progression that he not only competed on the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship, but he won the entire competition (along with the $25,000 prize)!
With summer around the corner, I got the chance to sit down with Chef Dru to chat about his recent win, what it is like being a sudden hometown hero, and what he has planned for the summer in Rehoboth Beach.
Michael Cook: What made you take the leap into trying out for Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship?
Dru Tevis: I had submitted applications and done interviews before for television shows, but they never really went anywhere. This time around I think I really had the support and encouragement from SoDel and the timing just worked out.
MC: What was your high and low, your rose and thorn, of the entire Holiday Baking Championship experience?
DT: My high was winning the show and going through the whole experience. The low was probably the filming days; they were hard, long days and just the stress of feeling like you needed to have your very best bake every single time took a toll on all of us.
MC: You pursued your passion for pastries at the French Culinary Institute in New York City; is that when you knew you would be making it your passion? Or was that much earlier?
DT: I think that summer before, when I started making desserts at a local restaurant, is when I really opened my eyes to how much I enjoyed creating desserts and realized just how passionate about it I was. When I made the decision not to go to film school and attend the French Culinary Institute instead, I think I had already solidified that this was going to be my path, moving forward.
MC: You are now officially a hometown hero in Rehoboth Beach and Lewes; what was it like to get that kind of reaction and support from your SoDel Concept family during this experience?
DT: To be honest, that was really the best part about it all for me. The viewing experience was incredible, the support from my friends and family—my SoDel Concepts family and the entire beach community—was unbelievable. It just reinforced to me why I love being here in our small town instead of a big city; the support and encouragement were more than I could have imagined.
MC: You also received the prize of $25,000 when you won; what is the most fun and frivolous thing you have spent any of your winnings on?
DT: We definitely used some of our winnings to enjoy our vacation a little more than usual! My husband and I travel back to Cabo, where we got married, once a year and we splurged on some extra dinners, drinks, and events this go-round.
MC: How do you balance creating (and testing) in the kitchen with discipline in the gym? You are a bit of a heartthrob in the area you know….
DT: Balance and discipline. I have always stood by the mantra that you can enjoy everything in moderation.
MC: What’s next for you this summer in Rehoboth/Lewes and with SoDel Concepts?
DT: I am just gearing up for the busy season! Summer is always fast-paced, and I am looking forward to staying busy with events and being in the restaurants with my team.
MC: When you’re not in the kitchen, what can we find you doing? Any interesting fan experiences post-Holiday Baking Championship?
DT: When I am not in the kitchen you can typically find me in the gym, relaxing at home, and traveling when there is time!
It was pretty cool to get recognized a couple of times while I was traveling and have people come up to me to say hello.
It’s funny because I usually draw some attention with my hair and now I sometimes wonder, are they looking at me because they recognize me, or because of my hair and mustache?
MC: Your entire Holiday Baking Championship experience is a result of hard work and dreaming big. What advice do you have for other people out there about following their own dreams?
DT: You really just have to go for it and face your fears. I knew I was good at my job, but it was always an internal battle with myself—would I be good at a timed, skills-based competition? Would I be able to think on my feet like that? Would my skills translate in a cooking competition? It really paid off and I just had to be confident in my abilities and put myself out there. It was definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but so, so rewarding.
Follow Dru Tevis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/pastrychefdru/
Michael Cook has been a part-time resident of Rehoboth Beach for over a decade. He is currently a contributor to Instinct Magazine, World of Wonder’s WOW Report, and South Florida Gay News.